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This whimsical essay is one I am particularly proud of. I thought to post it in October for Halloween, but I don’t have anything else to say at the moment. Spo

As a boy I did not fear there were monsters under the bed. Mine were out in the hallway in the dark. They were always just out of sight, watching and waiting. There was a particular one that leapt out of a horror-story comic book and he* has been haunting me ever since. Hw doesn’t come around much as he used to. Once in a while I sense him lurking outside the hallway of the master bedroom. As a boy I was quite scared of him; as a nearly sixty-year-old man I now tell him to F-off and dare him to enter. Part of me I confess now sees him as a sort of comfort companion, an old acquaintance whom you particularly like but you appreciate he’s hung in with you through it all.

Over the decades the monsters under my bed have evolved from being puerile phantoms with nasty big pointed teeth to vague but menacing abstracts, more interior than exterior. I sort of miss the former types. They were more easy to deal with. Their likes were readily curtailed with nightlights and magical rituals done prior to bedtime. The present types of are not so easily assuaged. Cognitive behavioral therapy techniques and elements of stoicism help but not much.

Recently two major monsters under my proverbial bed were exorcized only to have a few new ones arise. As they say in ‘The Onion’: ‘this sh-t never ends’. My batting average to deal with MOTB is nearly 1.000 but one wonders if the present lot will be the ones that do me in.

Jungian psychology, CBT, and stoicism have in common the concept one survives despite the proverbial monsters under the bed. They scare, but they don’t succeed. Indeed, if you change the approach from a battle to co-existence, this takes away their bite. Like my specter in the hallway, you would prefer he scram, but since he’s along for the ride, you might as well try to get to know him and give him some space so long as that’s not in the drivers seat. I’ve learned talking to him helps. He’s learned he’s become a convenient captive audience for my jabbering. The table has turned; I am now his monster under the bed. He’s likely to become discouraged and scram. In a way I would miss the morbid thing.

*The sex of spooks is often unclear. I first wrote this piece using the pronoun ‘it’ but that looks odd, so I changed the pronouns to ‘he/him’.

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September 2021

Spo-Reflections 2006-2018